Yarrabee Wesfarmers Reserve

A map showing the location of our Yarrabee Wesfarmers Reserve in WA.

Established: 2006
Area: 923ha
Location: 481km south-east of Perth

Detailed map >

We bought this property in 2006 in conjunction with  Greening Australia. Two-thirds of it was cleared land – not much of a conservation reserve, some might say. But what they'd be missing is the vital role Yarrabee will play in a much bigger picture.

Yarrabee Wesfarmers Reserve, with the Stirling Ranges behind. Photo: Amanda Keesing.
Yarrabee Wesfarmers Reserve, with the Stirling Ranges behind. Photo: Amanda Keesing.
Together with Greening Australia we replanted native bushland at Yarrabee, which is considered a key property in reconnecting remaining bushland between the Stirling Range and the Fitzgerald River national parks.

Candle Banksias at Yarrabee. Photo: Marie Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.
Candle Banksias at Yarrabee. Photo: Marie Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.
The new bushland plantings are now starting to come into their own, and are providing habitat for species such as Carnaby's Cockatoo, Black-gloved Wallabies and Honey Possums.

Yarrabee also protects a range of plants belonging to the Proteaceae family, an ancient lineage of spectacular flowering shrubs that include Banksias, Grevilleas and Hakeas.

The prolific flowering of Proteaceae-rich heaths draws a host of bird and other species throughout the year, particularly during summer and autumn, when other food sources are scarce.

In 2018 it was agreed that in the interests of efficient management, we would to transfer ownership of this reserve to Greening Australia in full, rather than continue to share it. The reserve is in good hands and will continue to be protected forever.

What this reserve protects

Yarrabee protects Proteaceae-rich Heath on deep white sand – one of the few intact patches remaining in the area. It also protects:

Animals: Honey Possum, Black-gloved Wallaby, Black-backed Snake, Western Whipbird, Carnaby's Cockatoo

Plants: Flat-topped Yate, Boronia, Trigger Plants, Christmas Tree, Baxter's Banksia

Vegetation communities: Proteaceous rich heath, Banksia woodland, Jarrah/marri woodland.

Work done on the property

The plant-destroying disease dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi has infected parts of Yarrabee and must be prevented from further contaminating the reserve.

Flowering eucalypts on Yarrabee Reserve. Photo Keith Tuffley.
Flowering eucalypts on Yarrabee Reserve. Photo Keith Tuffley.
This deadly disease is particularly harmful to plants in the Proteaceae family (which includes banksias, grevilleas and hakeas), and has been likened to a biological bulldozer, killing dominant tree and understorey plant species.

We're also on guard against pest animals such as rabbits and locusts, which pose a significant threat to new bushland plantings.

Bush Rangers to the rescue

Reserve Manager Simon Smale and Ecologist Angela Sanders with reptile habitat materials. Photo Amanda Keesing.
Reserve Manager Simon Smale and Ecologist Angela Sanders with reptile habitat materials. Photo Amanda Keesing.
How do you get a bunch of school kids interested in environmental restoration? Give them a project that lets them build habitat for snakes, frogs, geckos and goannas.

At least that was the plan Bush Heritage ecologist Angela Sanders came up with when confronted with piles of old farming junk at Yarrabee. And guess what? It worked.

Indoctrinating just over a dozen teenagers from Jerramungup District High School into the ways of the local reptile fauna proved all too easy.

A tiny Marbled Gecko uncovered on the Reserve. Photo Amanda Keesing.
A tiny Marbled Gecko uncovered on the Reserve. Photo Amanda Keesing.
After studying what makes good shelter for snakes and lizards, and learning how to treat these animals with caution and respect, the students ventured into Yarrabee with the mission of turning old sheets of disused iron and piles of timber into new reptile habitat.

And what the kids turned up excited even Angela, who was thrilled when they discovered Swimming Skinks, Marbled Geckos, a Rosenberg's Goanna, and five Black-backed Snakes, which are quite rare and a record find for the property.

This work was carried out as part of the Bush Rangers Western Australia program.